I always watch the flaps
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved airplanes. Still to this day, in fact, I will occassionally bust out the flight simulator and take a Boeing out for a cruise around and above (for the most part) Puget Sound, or perhaps if I am really bored, a cyber trip to Reno. But today I am, in reality cruising at 35,000 feet above the earth and am supremely enjoying myself. I enjoy flying...but have jus enough understanding of how to fly that I can worry some about the ease with which humans can make errors - stupid errors - that can result in hundreds of lives being snuffed out.
In 1987, a Northwest Airlines MD80 crashed on take off at Detroit Metroploitan Airport (Jeez I hate talking about airline disasters while on an airliner...seems like I am dangling a much too tampting treat before the face of irony). It was determined that the pilots had failed to lower their flaps properly for takeoff and so the wings of the plane generated substantially less lift and the aircraft aerodynamically stalled and crashed as it tried to gain altitude. Something even us cyber-pilots know very well: YOU MUST HAVE YOUR FLAPS EXTENDED FOR TAKE OFF!
Let's face it, such errors happen all too often. So much so, in fact, that airliners have built in systems to warn pilots when they make such basic and yet critical mistakes - unfortunately, Northwest flight 255's warning system was found to be defective and so the pilots error was left unnoticed. It was also theorized that the plots themselves might have diarmed the system because the warning bells were terribly annoying. Nowadays, in recollecting this story, I always check the flaps on the wings of my plane to make sure that before we begin to speed down the runway that they appear to be properly lowered. I fully expect to one day have to scream out to the crew to remind them...I'll probably get tazered and arrested.
If the backup system fails, as it did for the poor souls on that aircraft in 1987, it leads to disaster. I think Spiritual Fatherhood could be likened to backup warning systems - no mater how smart or adept we might truly be (or believe ourselves to be), one day we are innevitably going to forget something very important. And when we do, if there is no backup system...well, you get the picture. Don't unplug the backup system - no matter how annoying you may feel it is! And, if you don't have a backup system, maybe consider getting one.
Wow...That's L.A. down below me...I'd forgotten what REAL urban sprawl is all about. Time to make our final approach...I'm watching the flaps...
What do you mean turn my laptop off?!?!?!?!?!
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:50 PM [+]